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Danielle Smith Arestrup

Partway through her tertiary studies in Denmark, Danielle Smith Arestrup got the opportunity to study in New Zealand. She jumped at the chance.


“I saw it as a great opportunity to improve my CV and experiences,” she says. “I wanted to do something more daring than travel to a nearby country and Ara offered a double degree in collaboration with my college back home so that made it easier.”

Danielle spent a year at Ara studying the Bachelor of International Tourism and Hospitality Management which aligned nicely with her Danish degree in tourism and events. She believes it’s important to take some risks, ask questions and to challenge yourself and others, which she felt able to do at Ara. “You learn more about yourself that way, which is just as important as the academic part.”

Danielle especially enjoyed her Ara-arranged work placements. “You get to test everything you’ve learned when you go out into the industry. I gained confidence but also learnt a lot about who I am, how I work best and what parts of the industry interest me most.”

Danielle felt well supported while on her work placements. “I’ve done practicums both here and at home in Denmark. The one back home, I was left to my own devices throughout, whereas here, I had weekly meetings with my tutors where they’d check on my progress and me give feedback on my assignment. I found this was a great help in reaching the finishing line with an assignment I was proud of.”

A highlight of Danielle’s New Zealand exchange experience was being so close to nature. “There are incredible beaches, waterfalls and mountains all within an hour of Christchurch, so when you have time off you can do activities and see sights that I could never have experienced in Denmark. It makes the whole experience seem so surreal sometimes!”

When she completes her studies, Danielle hopes to work in events although she’s not sure where yet. “I love music, so concerts could be an option. But I also like guiding and helping people so I’ve also thought of being an international advisor at a college or university. I never like to choose one thing. I feel it’s important to keep an open mind – that way, when the opportunities come, you’re more open to them.”